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OK. Bought 40 litres of sand. Washed 20 to add to the 8fter, had another sealed bag for the vegies. Got a call @ lunch yesterday from my girl, who asked if I wanted her to tip the sand in for me. You can guess what happened next. Tank is literally Brown. Visibility, maybe..1cm. Any ideas on what I can do, short of a 100% water change? Filters have been on about 30hrs and dont seem to have made a dent.

Sigh.

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Was it the washed sand that went into the tank ?

If it was - turn any impellor type filters off - let it settle till it clears - then gravel vac the sediment off the top

The reason for turning the filters off is that the suspended silicon will damage impellers and shafts .

If you are using air powered filters you can leave them run .

If you have fish in there leave you filters on to keep a lid on the nitrogen compounds but be prepared for some impeller damage .

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OK.

I would do a 1/3 waterchange then wait 24 hours and do another .

There may be insecticides in the sand ( for fire ants ) so if you have activated carbon run that on the tank .

The sand will most likely leach contaminants for quite a while .

If you have the space get a couple of 60 litre rubbish bins to age some water and some Prime and do a 60 litre per day waterchange until it fully clears .

If it does not clear in a week or so you may have to pull the sand back out - Not Fun !

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Yeah, apologies for not getting back sooner..Sigh. Did 25% water change. Made no difference. Did 50% change on the 5 footer, put the old water in a spare 3ft, dumped all the water from the 8ft and pulled out the substrate too. Halfway through washing all that. Fish from 5ft are in 3ft, fish from 8ft are in 5ft. Had to pull apart the sump from the 8ft too as it was full of mud, so that tank is cycling through one of the canisters I used to have on the 5ft. So, hopefully tomorrow everything will be back to normal...assuming the devil, trimac, jag, festae, vieja and JD don't kill each other during the night in the 5fter.

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